lectio divina

We tend to read Scriptures as if they were just another book to be consumed. Lectio [Divina] is just the opposite. It is the savoring of the text, a leisurely lingering in divine revelation … The Spirit who wrote the Scriptures is within us and enlightens us as to what the Scriptures are saying to us. The word is ultimately addressed to our inmost being. It starts with what is most outward and works toward what is most inward to awaken us to the abiding presence of God.

~ Thomas Keating, “The Process of Lectio Divina”, Intimacy with God

Lectio Divina is Latin for “divine reading,” “spiritual reading” or “holy reading”

If you are a beginner to this prayer form it is suggested that you follow the scholastic form of Lectio Divina. This form involves reading the scripture passage four times while listening for a particular prompting.

Lectio – as you read the word of God be aware of any word or phrase that catches your attention. Pause for reflection.

Meditatio – as you read the Word of God be aware of any reflection or thought that comes to you. Pause for reflection.

Oratio – as you read the Word of God this time be aware of any prayer that rises up within you that expresses what you are experiencing in this Word of God. Pray this prayer.

Contemplatio – as you read the Word of God this time just allow yourself to sit with the Word and allow it to deepen within your heart.

At the end you might just thank God for the gift you have received.

You might want to alternate reading the Word out loud.

As you gain experience, feel free to follow the monastic form of Lectio Divina by allowing yourself to freely move in any order from one moment to another as the Spirit guides you.

The monastic method of Lectio Divina is the most receptive form of praying the scriptures and complements the separate and distinct practice of Centering Prayer.

(This monastic method begins with prayer to the Holy Spirit.)

Come Holy Spirit and Living Flame, pour into our hearts from the depths of the Trinity the rays of your light. Help us to listen more deeply to the words of scripture you have enflamed. May your holy fire penetrate our hearts and minds so that we in turn may penetrate your words at ever deepening levels of understanding, insight and response. Amen.

•Read softly aloud the selected passage

•Reflect in the sense of ruminating

•Respond spontaneously in prayer

•Rest in God beyond thoughts and particular acts

“Each period of Lectio Divina follows the same plan: reflection on the Word of God, followed by free expression of the spontaneous feelings that arise in our hearts. The whole gamut of human response to truth, beauty, goodness and love is possible. As the heart reaches out in longing for God, it begins to penetrate the words of the sacred text.

Mind and heart are united and rest in the presence of Christ. Lectio Divina is a way of meditation that leads naturally to spontaneous prayer, and little by little, to moments of contemplation – to insights into the Word of God and the deeper meaning and significance of the truths of faith. This activity enables us to be nourished by the “bread of life” (John 6:35) and indeed to become the Word of God (John 6: 48-51).” ~ Thomas Keating, The Heart of the World


Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina, by Thelma Hall

Lectio Divina: Renewing the Ancient Practice of Praying the Scriptures, M. Basil Pennington


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